Professional Organizations Worth Joining
A benefit to completing a certification program is that it enables you to join related professional organizations under a student discount. I consider it an investment - with benefits of being able to add it to your resume and LinkedIn, networking opportunities, webinars and forums.
I joined Ascend for a little over two years back in 2017, with a corporate waiver. Ascend is a non-profit organization promoting networking opportunities for pan-Asian business leaders. I found that most of the events had an admission fee even for members, but it was discounted compared to non-members. There were many volunteer opportunities, which can allow you to attend the events without the admission fee and count as a meaningful volunteering opportunity.
This year I joined the International Association of Business Communications (IABC) that was recommended by my PR strategy instructor. Communications can cover PR, HR, marketing and many other fields, so the network is huge. Being a member allows you access to an exclusive job board and the Toronto chapter of this association is the largest in the world, which is quite impressive. There are also volunteering gigs which got me excited.
The other organization I joined is the Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS), which is a non-profit society dedicated to public relations professionals. Like the IABC, there is a job board and volunteering posts.
I don't know if I will renew my memberships the next year, as the regular price for professionals is astounding. However, the certification programs at University of Toronto can last up to three years, which means I can likely have a student discount for that long. There is a discount for student graduates, which isn't as heavily discounted but still affordable.